Chinese traffic jam comment of the day

“Everybody has to use this road as the other is too expensive, it should be free.”

That's from a Chinese truck driver and Tom Vanderbilt offers further comment.  Damien Ma at The Atlantic has this to report:

"The police blame the monstrous jam on highway roadwork, compounded by minor accidents and a few breakdowns," the Christian Science Monitor writes. "In fact, the mega blockage – the second in two months on a stretch of road about 130 miles northwest of the capital – is a tale of deceit and criminality that speaks volumes about China's breakneck economic development. And behind the traffic chaos stands King Coal."

Much of the coal in China is now loaded onto trucks rather than freight trains because China's rail system has numerous bottlenecks and is often over-taxed, which ends up creating supply shortages to the coast. Though it's impossible to know how many of the trucks are actually loaded with coal, the Christian Science Monitor is right that there's a good chance many of them are delivering "black gold" to the urban centers–whether the products are legal or illegal.

The highway on which the jam has occurred leads to Inner Mongolia–now the biggest coal-producing province in China.

There are still only 63 million cars in China, as of last year.


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